Spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead's midseason 3 finale. The two-hour episode aired Sunday on AMC.
Fans of Fear the Walking Dead were expecting a blowout between the Broke Jaw Ranch community and Walker's Native American clan. While this would have been an action-packed ending to Season 3's first half, the outcome was possibly more satisfying from a storytelling standpoint.
Madison Clark turned against Jeremiah Otto upon learning Walker's true reasons for resenting the family and ultimately suggested he kill himself to protect the Ranch. When he refused, Nick Clark stepped in and did the job -- putting a bullet in Jeremiah's head which would later be delivered to Qualetaqa as a peace offering from Madison.
With the issue between the two groups having been resolved, the stage for a new storyline in the back half of Fear the Walking Dead's third season has been set. According to showrunner Dave Erickson, there will be differences when the series returns but it will be a similar scenario for the Clark family.
"There's a complete story that the 16 episodes encompasses, and the elements for it have all been introduced in the first eight, so I wouldn't say it is a reinvention so much," Erickson said. "I think that we're in a very precarious position. Madison and Nick have conspired in a murder, and they're going to sell that... She sets it up at the end of the season as a suicide. So, we're gonna go into the back half with a treaty of peace between the nation and the ranchers, and an understanding or an assumption that Jeremiah did something noble, that Jeremiah took his own life as a nod to Walker in an effort to avoid violence and to save his sons, his Ranch, his legacy."
Of course, this is all built on a lie to help Madison form her pact with Walker. "Of course, the danger that stems from that is the question of when and how might Jake and/or Troy discover a truth," Erickson said. "What happens if the ranch discovers the truth? So, Madison's effectively taken control of this place at this point, but she has to be very careful that her leadership is not so overt that people suspect that she had something to do with Otto's death."
It's time for Madison to be a little bit more careful. "There'll be a lot of walking on eggshells in that regard," Erickson said. However, that won't be the only element of Season 3B the Clark family has to deal with. "More importantly, there's the fallout for Nick having committed a murder, because Nick, as we know, is somewhat more of a sensitive soul. I think he's adapted more to the apocalypse than he had in previous seasons, but there's a weight to that, and Nick ... what we try to do whenever we have a major death is we try to honor it and try to let that be the narrative, and so even though Otto was revealed to be the evil man he was, it doesn't take away from the fact that Nick took his life. It doesn't take away from the fact, he took Troy's father, and I think that's something that he has to process.
Madison, however, may have also influenced Nick's choice. "I'm not saying she did this consciously, but the timing of her story, and the fact that she revealed the murder of her own father as she was about to go potentially have to kill this surrogate father and Otto, one can argue that she was telling the story because she wanted her kids to understand what she was about to do, or she thought she might have to do," Erickson said. "There's also an argument to be made that she did it because she hoped that Nick would do exactly what he did."
With Fear the Walking Dead going on hiatus following the finale, the return date is set for September 10 with a trailer coming from San Diego Comic Con later this month.
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Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October of 2017. The first trailer is expected to arrive at San Diego Comic Con in July. For complete coverage and insider info all off-season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.